What You Need to Know about Roofing Repairs

roofers workingNail pops, shingles, drip strips, tear off vs. overlap…it can get confusing. With the roof being one of the first things anybody sees on a house, it is paramount to know what to do with a roof when flipping houses. You will need to compare quotes from contractors that have inspected it but here are some tale-tell signs that a roof needs repaired and if you need to replace it.

A normal roof in non-extreme climate conditions will typically last on a home between 10-15 years. The seller is required to list the age of the roof on the inspection sheet so you will be able to determine the age there. Don’t try to get on the roof yourself to inspect. Instead use binoculars to look for any damage before you call in the professionals.

roofing problems

Five Most Common Problems






Flashing boot needing replaced

Flashing boot needing replaced

Flashing/boots–The material used around vents and pipes is a prime spot for leaks and water damage.

Gutters–A build up in your gutter of debris and water can cause molding and rotting.

Shingles–Discoloration, curl ups, or missing shingles leave the base board susceptible to rotting, holes and other damage.

Fascia–Look for moisture on the front board as an indication of water damage here.

Soffit—Small animals and insects can reach the wood under the roof’s overhang. Check for cracks, holes and rotting.


Tear Off vs. Overlay


On an overlay the new shingles are applied over the existing layer of shingles. Some states will not allow an over lay there are 2 roofs or more so check your local restrictions on building codes to find out.  If you only have one layer, the existing roof is in good condition, lays flat (no bumps or rolls) and has no leaks or any problems with the underlying roof deck (soft spots), then an overlay may be the best option for you.

Roof with shingles curling up

Roof with shingles curling up

While overlays save on time, labor and disposal costs, they can only be done if certain conditions are met. A tear-off where all the old shingles are removed from the roof, it is inspected, and then a new roof is put on, is a better option on several scenarios.






  • The  condition of the existing shingles is so rough and distorted that it would not be practical to flatten all raised areas enough for the new roof to lay flat.
  • The roof structure shows signs of sag across the ridge or truss lines. If the roof does not look straight and feel solid, there may be structural defects.
  • Spongy areas are noticed when walking on a roof, or an inspection of the deck reveals rotted/warped wood or large gaps between the deck boards. Any rotten or damaged boards must be replaced before applying the new shingles. These conditions are not always evident until the roofing is removed.

You may be wondering what kind of roof to use if you have to replace. You obviously want to match the roof to the existing structure, using neutral tones as well. Normally you will go with a traditional shingles as apposed to ornamental like clay or bronze. However, depending on what area of the United States you live in, clay might be commonplace. The main thing to remember is not to over improve. Make sure that the roof is in the same price range as others in the neighborhood and you shouldn’t have any problems getting your money back out of the upgrade.


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Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people’s expertise to achieve their own goals.

Erik Hitzelberger – who has written posts on Part Time REI.

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About Erik Hitzelberger

Erik Hitzelberger has been Real Estate Investor since 2007. While learning the ropes in the market down-cycle, he now teaches others how to use his systems and leverage other people's expertise to achieve their own goals.

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